Infineon and Toshiba Announce Joint Development of FeRAM|
21 December, 2000
Munich and Tokyo--December 21, 2000-Infineon Technologies AG (FSE/NYSE: IFX) and Toshiba Corporation today announced a comprehensive agreement to develop nonvolatile memory technology and products based on the ferroelectric principle.
The Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (FeRAM) represents a new paradigm in memory technologies. Using ferroelectric materials, FeRAM combines the high-speed and endurance of widely used dynamic and static random access memories with the ability to store information in the absence of power.
Technology and product work under the agreement will focus on memory cell structure development, boosting the number of read and write cycles, raising access speeds, enhancing long term reliability and establishing a method for resolving metal contamination of silicon during chip production. The first commercial product is a 32-megabit Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (FeRAM), for use in cellular phones.
The advantages of FeRAM compared to NOR- flash memory devices include SRAM-like fast read and program response times, low power consumption and an immense number of non-volatile read and write cycles. This makes the technology well-suited for use in applications as diverse as game consoles, cellular phones, mobile products and IC cards. Infineon and Toshiba will introduce a 32M FeRAM as their first jointly developed product. It is expected to replace the current multi chip package (MCP) module for cellular phones, which consists of an SRAM chip and a NOR flash memory in a stacked configuration.
Toshiba will bring to the collaboration its advantages in PZT (lead zirconate titanate) process technology, its patented "chained" cell structure*, its 1T1C (1 transistor 1 capacitor) cell structure, and know-how gained in development of the 8M FeRAM. Infineon will contribute know-how in enhancing the number of read and write cycles and in resolving metal contamination of silicon.
Working from the state-of-art 8M FeRAM recently developed by Toshiba, the collaboration plans to produce and jointly market its first engineering samples in March 2001. Commercialization of a 32M device is expected at the end of 2002, and the collaboration will then be extended to 64M, or as far as 128M devices, depending on market conditions.
Welcoming the collaboration, Yasuo Morimoto, president and CEO of Toshiba Corporation's Semiconductor Company, said: "We look forward to working with Infineon again. Our long relationship includes joint development of leading-edge process technology for DRAMs, and we are very confident that this latest collaboration in FeRAM will allow us to reinforce our presence in the market. We expect to see mutual benefits, and great benefits for the customers we serve, who will gain access to a highly promising storage solution." Mr. Morimoto was also very positive on the product itself: "We expect to use well-established 0.25 micron process technology, and that will make FeRAM very competitive against SRAM and NOR flash in cellular phone applications. This is a case where we can create a new solution while minimizing our level of new investment."
Dr. Andreas von Zitzewitz, Chief Operating Officer at Infineon Technologies commented: "Toshiba and Infineon have 15 years of experience in working together. This revolutionary new technology opens new applications which supplement our intensive penetration of the communication market, in this case specifically in the wireless market. Non volatile storage is a high priority for us, and we are excited about this new activity with such a competent partner."
The joint development program will start in early January 2001 at Toshiba's Advanced Microelectronics Center and Ofuna Office of Semiconductor System Engineering Center in Yokohama. Infineon will dispatch up to twenty engineers to the project. The development costs will be shared by the partners.
Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for applications in the wired and wireless communications markets, for security systems and smartcards, for the automotive and industrial sectors, as well as memory products. With a global presence, Infineon operates in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In the fiscal year 2000 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 7.28 billion with about 29,000 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). Further information is available at www.infineon.com.
Toshiba Corporation's wide-ranging capabilities assures its position as a leading company in semiconductors, LCDs and other electronic devices, and allows it to support its customers around the world with a complete portfolio of semiconductor solutions. Toshiba has 191,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of over US$50 billion. Visit Toshiba's website at http://www.toshiba.co.jp
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